Interview Contact Name and Job Title: Lilian Woodward, Owner of Pictures on Wood
Website URL: http://picturesonwood.co.uk
Social Media Links:
Number of outlets: 1
Location(s): West Sussex
Market(s): (eg. Homeware, fashion etc) Home, Garden, Personalised Gifts
Other relevant info: Gifts made to order in customer’s own ideas or if they prefer, ours. [/ap_tagline_box]
Modern Retail talks to Lilian Woodward, owner of the bespoke ” Pictures on Wood ” for the perfect gift designed and crafted specially for you.
MR: How do you aim to stand out as a brand?
LW: In this highly competitive category of Personalised Gifts, most of which are to set designs, I like to offer a truly personalised, bespoke service, where the customer can let me know their ideas and I put them into a design that will be unique to them at a very reasonable cost. The price is what you see, there are no hidden extras for extra time spent on designing.
MR: How would you sum up your target customer?
LW: My customers are generally female, looking for a gift to suit friends or family that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to find gifts for. If you know a subject. Pastime or hobby the recipient is interested in, then you can design something around that interest. Also, with wedding gifts, these days, couples have generally been living together before marrying, so they don’t particularly need anything for their home. It’s always nice to have an engraved keepsake that is a quality item which can stay in the family for years to come.
MR: Why should people shop with you?
LW: The Pictures on Wood prices are very reasonable. I think a lot of crafts people are charging a lot of money for items that really don’t take too much preparing. And I just love doing what I do. I just get such a buzz when a customer emails me saying how pleased they are with their purchase. It makes me feel good.
MR:What do you want to do differently to your competitors?
LW: I think mostly, I give a real personalised service where I’m easily contactable and will take my time in getting their gift as perfect for them as possible. Even if it’s only a small keyring. Every item is as important as the next. Customer Service is everything if you want to make a success of your business.
MR:What challenges do you face as a business, and how do you aim to overcome them?
LW: When I first made personalised gifts in 2003 in pyrography, my customers used to say how unique it was and there was nothing else like it. Unfortunately, the internet is now full of personalised gift ideas. It’s a great outlet for all those artistic people out there. But the competition is fierce and I just keep trying to think up new and different ideas. You have to try and think outside the box.
MR:How do you use technology/media/ecommerce to improve your offering?
LW: I’m obsessed with using my Computer and the Internet for my whole business. Only a fraction of my sales are outside of ecommerce. I just love the whole designing side. I’ve always made my own websites and I like to keep up with current trends on the internet to try and stay ahead of the game.
MR:What do you love about your work/business/brand?
LW: It’s basically a hobby that I get paid for. Not great financial rewards but I feel I’ve contributed quite a lot to the world with my artwork. And a lot of my customers have family keepsakes that can be handed down the generations. That’s reward enough for me.
MR:What advantages/disadvantages does your location bring?
LW: It doesn’t do either as all my work is basically internet based.
MR:What are your growth aims for the next 12 months?
LW: I took a couple of years off and in that time, my website lost a lot of favour with the likes of Google, so I’m aiming to bring it back, so I can be on the first page of the search engines again for my unique gifts.
MR:What advice would you give to a new retail start-up based on your experience?
LW: Just work really hard. You can’t just build a website and hope it does all the work. You have to keep at it everyday. Be prepared to work long hours. If you love it, it won’t be a chore. If you don’t love it, you’re doing the wrong thing. As the saying goes “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success”